Wildlife Adventures in Borneo

Orangutans, Pygmy Elephants, and the Kinabatangan River

Overview

Orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, sun bears—Borneo’s extraordinary wildlife is just as fascinating as its emerald-green rainforests. At Sepilok Forest Reserve, we’ll walk among free-roaming orangutans, watching their upside-down vine-dangling prowess. From, our eco-lodge on the jungle-draped Kinabatangan River, we boat at dawn and dusk in search of primates and pygmy elephants along the rainforested banks. In the lowland forests of Tabin, we’ll look for flying squirrels, Asian palm civets, Malayan civets, and pig-tailed macaques. Our grand finale finds us in the ancient wilderness of the stunning Danum Valley, with its incredible diversity of endemic animals in towering treetop canopies. Join us to discover one of the most biodiverse places on the planet!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Kota Kinabalu / Sepilok Forest Reserve

From Kota Kinabalu, we head to Sepilok Forest Reserve. Fresh fruit is put out each morning at the reserve’s feeding station, and we can observe any orangutans that come for a morning snack. Sepilok was founded in 1964 to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans; today around 60 to 80 orangutans live freely in the reserve. Young orangutans are paired with older ones to replace a mother’s teaching, and over time they are released to live in the wild. We’ll walk the rainforest trails, cross a treetop canopy to watch sunset, and have a private visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a sanctuary for the world’s smallest bears.

Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Day 1 (1 night), Day 10 (1 night)
Sepilok Nature Resort
Sepilok, Malaysia
Day 2 (1 night)
Days 3-6
Kinabatangan Wetlands / Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Winding down the Kinabatangan River by boat at dawn and dusk, we look for baby-faced pygmy elephants and tree-dwelling creatures along the banks. Ten primate species inhabit the Kinabatangan area, most of them endemic to Borneo. In Tabin Wildlife Reserve, we look for flying squirrels, Asian palm civets, Malayan civets, and pig-tailed macaques. Tabin is also one of Borneo’s best birding areas, home to sought-after species such as the rhinoceros hornbill and the endemic blue-headed pitta.

Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort
Sandakan, Malaysia
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
Tabin Wildlife Resort
Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)
Days 7-11
Danum Valley Conservation Area

The Danum Valley, one of the world’s most pristine rainforests, has off-the-charts biodiversity. Rare mammal species here include the Sumatran rhino, clouded leopard, and maroon-leaf langur. We set out on early morning canopy walks, watching the sun paint its colors over the jungle, hike to an ancient burial site, and enjoy night drives in search of flying squirrels and mammals on the hunt. Depart on Day 11 via Kota Kinabalu.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Lahad Datu, Malaysia
Days 7 to 9 (3 nights)
Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Day 10 (1 night)

Highlights

Highlights

Walk among the free-roaming orangutans at Sepilok
Explore during dawn and dusk rides on the wildlife-rich Kinabatangan River
Meet with conservationists in Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Experience the Danum Valley’s world-famous primary rainforest
Enjoy remote lodges with great access to wildlife

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $8895  
Arrive: Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia
Depart: Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia
Lodging: 8 nights lodges, 2 nights hotel
Meals: All meals included as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife and Natural History
Trip Level:

Easy nature walks and light hikes in a hot and humid climate, river excursions by speedboat and longboat